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The Emergence of the Connected Consumer in India

Rajesh Pantina
Rajesh Pantina
Head of Marketing, Asia Pacific
4 min read
Posted on November 08, 2019
The Emergence of the Connected Consumer in India

The Indian consumer is a connected consumer. No matter where they are or what they care about, connectivity is now central to the customer experience. There’s truly been a digital transformation in India.

The change has been led by mobile, with many Indians today having skipped the desktop era and jumped directly to mobile. As smartphones and wireless connectivity expand beyond the major cities into smaller municipalities and rural areas, mobile devices take up a central role in how Indians shop, play, eat and do just about everything. This is a big change from just five years ago.

The Connected Indian Consumer Throughout the Country

This rise in mobile device and smartphone usage isn’t just happening in Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities either. The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) has previously predicted that by next year, around half of all internet-connected consumers in India will be from rural areas. Considering that around 67% of India’s population lives in rural areas, the growth in connectivity in these parts of the country is significant.

“Cheaper mobile handsets, the spread of wireless data networks, and evolving consumer behaviors and preferences will all drive rural penetration and usage,” the report’s authors noted.

And, their usage habits are not all that different from their urban peers. BCG noted that the most popular activities undertaken by rural consumers on their phones including accessing social media networks and communicating with others through chat and text messages, among many other activities.

Festive Season and the Connected Indian Consumer

To highlight just how connected Indian consumers will shop during this key holiday period, InMobi surveyed over 1,000 Indians this summer. The goal of this research was to see how the connected Indian consumer plans to learn, explore and buy during the four-month Festive Season, which here is defined as the period from August through Dussehra/ Vijayadashami and Diwali ending in December with Christmas.

A characteristic feature of the 2019 festive season is the increased nature of impulse shopping around this highly planned affair. And, how mobile is the constant companion in this endeavor - planned or unplanned.

So what did we uncover? Here’s a small sampling of what we found:

  • 62% of respondents said they discovered and learned more about products from mobile, while only 9% said they did from visiting physical stores.
  • 77% said they will use mobile to research and explore about products, while less than one in four said they will in store.
  • Two-thirds of respondents said they will turn to mobile devices to make a purchase, while only a third said they will buy in store.

This festive season is characterized by the emergence of the connected Indian consumer. Today’s festive shopper owns multiple devices and is constantly multi-screening.

Of course, the very “connectedness” of the Indian consumer is defined by the smartphone. With a whole new generation now experiencing the internet and living the connected experience through mobile, it is undoubtedly the go-to screen this festive season.

A recent report showed that 33% Indians couldn’t live without their smartphones, and 90% of Indian consumers use multiple connected devices throughout the day.

Driving Real Connections with Connected Indian Consumers

For brands - especially those hoping to win consumers this festive season - the emergence of the connected Indian consumer presents both unique challenges and unique opportunities. How can companies use mobile to their advantage?

As mobile cements its place as the center of the modern Indian’s life, it’s crucial that mobile be the linchpin of any marketing and advertising strategy, whether for festive season or really any other time of the year.

This is a big change, especially for marketers accustomed to the old ways of doing things, but it also represents a huge opportunity. Mobile offers marketers with the unprecedented ability to understand, identify, engage and acquire customers like never before. As a highly personal device, marketers can use mobile to connect with consumers on a level that was simply impossible before.

In an increasingly mobile-native economy like ours, marketers can effectively reach potential customers during the festive season through a comprehensive mobile marketing strategy that not only targets the right audience but does so in a creative, data driven and frictionless manner. While the festive season is ripe with opportunity for marketers across the nation, it’s imperative to have the right strategy in place well before the shopping frenzy begins to maximize impact!

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